Review - 'The Last Shoe' by Evelyn Chen (NTU ADM Film Class of 2013)

‘The Last Shoe’ by Evelyn Chen, for fear of sounding boring, a competent, conventional attempt at telling a story about memories, time and love. But it makes it so ‘sedap!’ (Malay for delicious). In the quest for style, originality and attention, filmmakers sometimes forget the ‘wholesome-goodness’ of a simple story well-told, Evelyn does just that and directs with sensitivity and maturity as well.

Dealing with 2 seniors with a vision honed from half their life experience may be quite a struggle. ‘The Last Shoe’ takes an old couple on a rather rocky journey through the pains of ageing, lost time, bittersweet memories and even a dash of delirium and Evelyn has drawn a flavourful and nuanced performance from both the actors. The film tells the story of a couple in which the male half has lost part of his memory and judgement to dementia and his poor wife needs to be his guiding light, nanny and even a literal pillar of support. They operate a shoe shop selling traditional Nonya beaded shoes and are still struggling to keep it going, beating the odds of time, illness and temper.

The director pushes the right buttons in her actors, making them deliver heartfelt and honest performances. While the demented husband tests the patience of his wife incessantly, the wife reacts with restraint and intuition, giving the impression of familiarity and proximity. It’s a pity that the attention to acting has been given at the expense of attention to editing and a ‘filmic’ storytelling style. In order words, I sometimes felt the linearity and the point-blank-ness of a TV treatment in the film. But thankfully, none of these serve diminish the fact that despite the conventional story and safe approach, this film feels far from formulaic.

Review by Jeremy Sing

You can catch some shots of 'The Last Shoe' in this showreel of Evelyn's.
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